The tantalising prospect of summer has tickled us these past few of days and a warm sun has been kissing my fair arm. Factor 20 is rubbed on my arms and Factor 45 on my nose!
Della has been to a randomly selected Groomer and we had hopes of a trimmed mini Schnauzer ready for Navigation duties. She has certainly been clipped and I was told she had matted hair and needed a drastic groom to cut out the clumps. She looks a little different but her hair will grow again and we can get her back to Schnauzerville in the future.
Milton Keynes is a ‘new’ town that started appearing post WW2. I remember learning about the new towns that were being built in England, when I was at school, and I had guessed they would not be attractive. Well that was my assumption. The scenery and green space of the Grand Union Canal in the Milton Keynes area is beautiful and definitely worth a return visit. The Canal skirts around some of the perimeter of Milton Keynes before it continues south to Leighton Buzzard. There is moving boat traffic, on this wide stretch of Canal, more than we have seen in recent weeks and there are attractive end of field moorings. It is not difficult to moor up, on the passing traffic side of the Cut but pegs are needed more often than not. Pegs are OK but they react if boats do not slow down to ‘Tick’ speed. It is not uncommon for a boat to get loose i.e. one end of the boat moves out to pole-axe (is that the right word) the Canal as the peg is remotely dislodged by a passing thoughtless throttle user. We passed one boat that had come loose from its long term mooring. Nothing we could do and it drifted crossways to block the Canal after we passed. The question is Why doesn’t some 'boatie' on shore pull her in? A=path=y?
|Albino Mummy duck and babes.|
A mile or so on at our chosen mooring we had to bang the pegs in and be aware that they could dislodge. Later on the rain stopped. Did I mention rain? Stepping off DB to take Della for a walk we noticed the boat moored in front of us was drifting out to the Canal centre. This time we could be helpful. I stepped on the stern and gunwale- walked to the Bow and watched the towpath getting further away. Chris collected his handy rope retrieving creation and threw it to me so I could attach the Bow rope and throw his rope retriever back to him to pull the attached Bow rope back to shore. It is interesting to watch rather than reading the description. The words to ‘Tie a yellow ribbon round the old boat rope.....’ comes to mind.
Once Della had completed her appointed close shave with the Groomer we could set off. We moved on to Bridge 91 thinking we would go to the Pub for dinner. The Pub is closed on Mondays and it was Monday so it was closed. No worries, we had fine dining aboard and planned the next day to get close to Leighton Buzzard and have dinner at the pub near the site of the Great Train Robbery .
I have succumbed to training for my Wheely Queen badge. I did enjoy steering using a Tiller but DB has the wheel. I stand on a footstool which gives me the height I need for clear-ish vision to avoid hitting any craft that might jump out at me. Not sure if I would see a canoe though! The turn of the wheel, from straight ahead are max 3 whirly wheels to starboard (R) & 3 whirly wheels back to midway & max 3 whirly wheels to port (L). The minimal white matter in my cranium was full of counting 3’s. There is manoeuvrability if you just turn the wheel but for rapid response the whirly handle on the wheel is the best solution. And then a boat came towards me. I thought I’m not magnetic and nor is DB. Maintain position; focus on starboard, moored boats are far enough away, cool bananas! Anything I can do I can do better. Unexpectedly the Narrowboat coming round the bend had a ‘Working boat’ clipped on to it making its combined width 14 ft. Oh crikey, but I kept focussed and no nudging passing boats this time!
We are slowly but effectively Lock and Lol-ing along the Canal. Today we have moved through 5 Locks. Chris insisted I take DB into the first 2 Locks while he worked them. I wasn't overjoyed at the thought of doing this but I did and it was OK. My former experience on AM is helpful and I didn’t scrape into the Lock although it did help having 2 gates open to enter the Lock.
|Chocolate Box cover|
Which brings me back to the “Fend her off” shared Lock experience a few days ago. We were sharing a Lock with another boat and the other boat had gone in. DB had to pass the Lock Gate that wouldn’t completely open, to go alongside the boat in the Lock. The woman on the Tiller called out “Fend her off” and I muttered under my breath as I tried to girl handle DB to stay directed starboard! Then I noticed that DB’s side fender, attached to the Bow, had come loose and was floating! How inflection can cause misunderstanding. I think I am dialectically challenged or am I dialectically challenging. The answer will be blowing in the wind!
|In the Jungle the mighty Jungle....|